• Metro Pacific ready to sign Calax contract

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    AFTER bagging the Cavite Laguna Expressway (Calax) public-private partnership project, the Metro Pacific Group led by businessman Manny V. Pangilinan is ready to sign the contract for the 45-kilometer toll road project that will connect the provinces of Cavite and Laguna.

    MPCALA Holdings Inc., led by Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. (MPTDC), said they have five days from receipt of the notice of compliance to sign the contract.

    “We are ready to sign,” MPTDC president Ramon Fernandez said in a text message.

    A Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) official confirmed that the notice of compliance has been sent to MPCALA on June 30 and that the company received it on July 5.

    Ariel Angeles, officer-in-charge and director of the public-private partnership (PPP) service of the DPWH, said that under Build-Operate-Transfer Law, “they have five days to sign the contract upon the receipt of the notice and pay the 20 percent of the concession fees. So they have until Friday or Saturday to sign the contract and pay P5.46 billion.”

    MPTDC offered the highest bid of P27.3 billion for the Calax project, besting by about P5 billion the rival bid of San Miguel Holdings Corp. (SMHC), which submitted a premium bid of P22.2 billion.

    The premium bids come on top of the toll road’s estimated cost of P35.4 billion. In last month’s bidding—the second for the project after last year’s bidding failed—the government set a P20.1 billion floor premium bid for Calax.

    DPWH Undersecretary Rafael Yabut earlier said, “It’s one big revenue for the government.

    Proceeds will go to the national treasury. The initial toll rate was based on the study. Base is P4.65 per kilometer. It is at par with other toll roads. It seems everything worked perfectly well.”

    He added: “This is the biggest single revenue premium that a government agency has generated. Any road development always spurs development, entire community development.”

    Jose Ma. Lim, president and chief executive officer of MPIC, said “We have been observing the population growth in both Cavite and Laguna and we believe it is higher than the national average, about 50 percent higher than the average. There are about 3 million people in Cavite and 2 million in Laguna.”

    MPCALA Holdings is a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).

    The Calax project will start from the Cavite Expressway (Cavitex) in Kawit, Cavite and end at the Mamplasan interchange of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) in Binan, Laguna.

    MPTDC said that in line with this project, the company is hoping they will grow a little faster than the industry.

    “Right now the industry is 330 km and we have about 61 percent of the industry. The industry will grow [and]our hope is we will grow a little faster than the industry. That’s our hope,” Fernandez said.

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